The New DC Universe: Week 4 reviews

Well, after a crazy up and down week I am hoping for a little more consistency this week. I reread a few week 3 books to see how they held up. Some of them not so good on a 2nd read. Although, I still hated Red Hood, maybe even more. This is the last week of number ones and then next week we roll out the second issues. I will keep at it for at least another month. I want to see the changes in my power rankings as the next issues come out. I am also very interested in how sales hold up after the hype starts to die down. I’m crossing my fingers that some of the kinks will be ironed out of books I was expecting to like a lot more than I did. If you missed the first few weeks here are the links (week 0, week 1, week 2 and week 3 reviews).

All Star Western #1

Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI; Art and cover by MORITAT

I have to make a confession first. I am a sucker for a good western. I loved Deadwood, grew up reading Two Gun Kid.  I think Clint Eastwood walks on water. So I was really hoping to love this book and it didn’t disappoint. One of the most interesting ideas for the reboot. Setting Jonah Hex in the old west Gotham and partnering him with Amadeus Arkham. Throw in the fact Arkham narrates the story and is not exactly a trusty narrator and the book has a lot of interesting story going for it. This book reads like an old west mystery crossed with Caleb Carr’s, The Alienist. I love that Arkham is supposed to be the smart one but Hex does all the work. A very curious partnership. The art fit the story although there were a couple of spots I thought it was a tiny bit off. A very good start 8.5 out of 10.

Aquaman #1

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO

Growing up I was a huge fan of the Superfriends (power of ridiculousness activate). It was probably the only version of Aquaman I have ever enjoyed. I tried to pick up the comic book a few times. I admit I was intrigued when they sliced off his arm and gave him a badass makeover, but still didn’t really like him. Well have no fear Aquaman fans. This book is a winner. Not only is it genuinely funny all the way through but it winks at all the Aquaman haters. I loved the art and it left me wanting more. Another great example of how to hook a new reader on something he had no prior interest in. It also looks like it is going to be an interesting mix of land based and water based story. With a dash of nasty creatures thrown in for good measure. 9 out of 10.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Written by DAVID FINCH; Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND; Cover by DAVID FINCH

I am not really even sure what the point of this book is. How is it bringing something different to the Batman table. Do we really need another bat book like this? The art was okay but I wasn’t a big fan (except for one panel with all the villains. That was cool). The story felt a little clunky and some of the writing hit with a thud. If this book did anything it made me appreciate Detective Comics #1 a whole lot more. I also chuckled when I saw the new Two-face, I am fairly certain this wasn’t the reaction they were hoping for. This was a decidedly average book. 7 out of 10.

Blackhawks #1

Written by MIKE COSTA; Art and cover by KEN LASHLEY

I really liked the idea of a team based counter terrorism unit. Sort of DC’s answer to G.I. Joe. The story itself left me a little wanting, though. It just wasn’t that interesting and I found the art really distracting. I saw a lot of potential here but I don’t think the first issue lived up to it. I also had to wonder a little bit about all the sex going on in the reboot of the comics. It is starting to jump out at me. Maybe because I have read all the issues. I thought the whole, “I don’t want anyone to know about our relationship story” was kind of silly and old. Considering this is the type of book I wouldn’t have picked up if I wasn’t reviewing all the issues it is going to have to work harder to keep my interest. 6.5 out of 10.

The Flash #1

Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

I am in that perfect age group which claims both Barry Allen and Wally West as the Flash. Although, I was always a bigger Wally West fan. I have also read Flash several times over the last ten years depending on who was writing it.  I really like the character. This book was a good start but it was a little slow in its pacing. I wasn’t totally sold on the art either but I have a feeling it will grow on me. We got a lot of Barry Allen and not as much Flash as I would have liked. I think the opening story line has some potential though and am on board to see where it goes. Not completely sold on this one yet. 7.5 out of 10.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1

Written by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and GAIL SIMONE; Art by YILDIRAY CINAR; Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

This one is going to hurt a little. One of the first comics I ever bought was the original Firestorm. I loved it and collected it. I am also a fan of Gail Simone. I was expecting a winner. What I got was a little bit of a mess. I disliked the art a lot. The story didn’t make much sense and the big plot point which turns the two boys into Firestorm is ridiculous even for a comic. It also didn’t take very long for me to get over the bantering of the two boys. I wanted to like this book but I really didn’t. I hope the second book picks up but I am not sure I will ever get the origin story out of my head. 6 out of 10.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Written by TONY BEDARD; Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT

Another Green Lantern book. Another Green Lantern on earth to keep track of. I am so excited. Like the Batman book above I am not sure what the point of another Green Lantern book is (this is not true. The point is to get Green Lantern fans to pony up money). I just didn’t dig this book. You could have combined it with the Corps book and that would have been enough for me. I am not even really sure how they are going to make all these books work together and they will have to (there are some busy editors at DC). The story was your basic start-up story. Nothing new or original. I think over the long haul Red Lanterns and Green Lantern are the only books I will end up reading. Two good ones will be enough to keep me satisfied. 6.5 out of 10.

I, Vampire #1

Written by JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV; Art by ANDREA SORRENTINO; Cover by JENNY FRISON

This book is really tricky. I liked it. Completely enjoyed the art and the reading experience but its place in the DC Universe threw me for a loop. It doesn’t feel like it fits. More of a Vertigo book. I mean how are they going to explain vampire massacres in a world where Superman and the Flash exist? No one notices or comes calling? Again I liked the book and am at least a little intrigued how it will fit in but I worry my questions might affect the long-term prospects of the comic. Then again Hitman worked in the DC Universe and it shouldn’t have. So you never know. It was still a great book and worth the read.  8.5 out of 10.

Justice League Dark #1

Written by PETER MILLIGAN; Art by MIKEL JANIN; Cover by RYAN SOOK

When this book was announced I admit to panicking  A LOT. You see I have every issue of Hellblazer. The thought of John Constantine back in the superhero universe scared me. Throw in the fact they have collected all of my favorite magic users and this was going to be a book I loved or hated. Well people, Peter Milligan is on a roll. I really liked this book. The story was well done. It actually explained why it was a Justice League book in a way which made sense (are you listening Firestorm?). The art was perfect for the book and it had a strong sense of being a Vertigo comic set in the DC World. 9.5 out of 10.

The Savage Hawkman #1

Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art and cover by PHILIP TAN

Hawkman has always had one of the most bad ass costumes around. I like when an artist really sinks his teeth into getting it right. There were a couple of panels in here which really hit it for me. Only a couple though. The art wasn’t terrible. Just kind of there. The story was fairly average. No real origin but definitely a hint of the mystery of it. Not a huge fan of the villain. Felt like a 2nd class Venom. I was hoping for more on this book. I can’t see this book appealing to a lot of new fans which was the whole point. 7 out of 10.

Superman #1

Written by GEORGE PÈREZ; Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PÈREZ; Art by JESUS MERINO

Ah, there’s the Superman I don’t really like. This is much more of the old school Superman book and it was only a little above average. Like I said a few reviews ago, I have never really been a Superman fan, which is why Action Comics surprised me so much. I am sure this is a perfectly acceptable Superman story for the fans but it did nothing for me other than establish Clark likes Lois. Lois doesn’t know. They aren’t married. We are starting over. I prefer my Superhero books with a little more story and action. At the very least make me giggle a little. 7.5 out of 10.

Teen Titans #1

Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

Wow, was this really the same writer who wrote that Red Hood monstrosity? I was sharpening my knives before I read this book. He had already ruined Starfire so who knew what he had in store for the Teen Titans. I had to put the knives away. I enjoyed this book. I liked the art. I loved Red Robin and the book had a wonderful feel about what lies ahead for the Titans. The interactions between characters was good and I loved the mystery being set up. A book with Teen in the title should have a good young vibe to it and I think this book did. Much better than  a lot of the other “teen” books did. The knives are packed but I am ready to whip them out on a moments notice. 8 out of 10.

Voodoo #1

Written by RON MARZ; Art and cover by SAMI BASRI

I guess there was a point to this comic besides drawing scantily clad females all the way through it. The story seemed like it had potential but the cheesecake factor was on overdrive in this book. Another book which felt really strange in the DC Universe. For me it didn’t work and I think they used the titillating art to mask there was no real substance here. Not as bad as Red Hood for me but close. 5 out of 10.

—-

DC Power Rankings

1) Animal Man – I was hoping this book would be great in Lemire’s hands and it was. The art was creepy and gave power to the excellent story.

2) Wonder Woman – A complete winner for me. Took my love of mythology and mixed it right in perfectly. Plus, it really handled the story well for any new readers.

3) Action Comics – A complete shock to me. Even with Morrison on board I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did.

4) Justice League Dark – Way better than I had any right to expect. Peter Milligan can be all over the place as a writer but he delivered two of my favorite reboot books.

5) Batman – I really enjoyed this book. The art was fantastic and Snyder can flat-out write. I think this book is going to only get better.

6) Stormwatch – Exciting story and everything I had hoped the first Justice League would be. Left me wishing I had the second book.

7) Red Lanterns – Seriously, even if you don’t buy this book find a way to read the first few pages. I dare you not to laugh.

8 ) Aquaman –  A solid first effort with great art and a story any new reader can jump into. Plus, it was funny. A couple of classic lines in this one.

9) Batwoman – The art was gorgeous. I am hoping this book won’t be plagued with lateness though. I am going to assume they have quite a few issues ready to go since it was supposed to come out last year.

10) All Star Western – I liked the mood and atmosphere in this book. Not at all what I was expecting to get out of a Jonah Hex comic. I am very excited about this series potential.

11) I, Vampire – I was a little confused by this story but loved the art and writing. Will see where it fits in after a few issues.

12) Grifter – Not quite up to the start of Stormwatch but close. I was hooked pretty quickly into the story.

13) Resurrection Man – I was really hoping to like this book. I love the premise and can see a lot of potential. They delivered a very good first book.

14) Deathstroke – I refuse to say anything on the grounds I will ruin the story for you. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

15) Supergirl – The super books keep up their great opening run. Not quite as good as Action for me but the long-term prospects of keeping me interested are good.

16) Swamp Thing – A great start to a character I once really loved. It reads well for new readers and I like how they poked the old readers who thought they knew what was happening.

17) Batgirl – An above average bat book. Didn’t blow me away but a solid superhero comic.

18) Green Lantern – Had a lot of elements I really liked. Nothing new or crazy for a comic but I look forward to seeing where the first story goes.

19) Teen Titans – Before the reboot I was looking forward to this comic. Then Red Hood happened and I grew nervous. First issue was good though. Will see what the future holds.

20) Men of War – I hope the second story picks up a little because I have a feeling the Sergeant Rock storyline is going to only get better.

21) Superboy – I liked the other world quality Superboy gives off. It has a solid science fiction story behind it too. This book has a lot of potential.

22) Legion of Super-Heroes – This book benefited by my long love and knowledge of Legion. Not at all sure how new readers will take to it.

23) Flash – It was an okay start. Slightly above average. I think my main complaint was the pacing. Seemed a little slow for a book about the fastest man alive.

24) Justice League – It wasn’t what I was hoping for right out of the gate but I think it will get better.

25) Superman – It was an okay hero book but I found it all a touch boring. This was one of the areas of the reboot I feared. I have seen the Clark – Lois dance many times before. I don’t really care to see it again.

26) Captain Atom – Better than I thought it would be but still not quite there. The potential to be more than a run of the mill hero book is there.

27) Demon Knights – This was a good solid almost for me but I have hope I am going to like it a lot more in future issues.

28) Catwoman – Easily my biggest guilty pleasure of the first round. I wonder if it will hold up though. Sometimes guilty pleasures lose their luster.

29) Detective Comics – I was underwhelmed with the story. It wasn’t terrible but it read like every other standard Joker-Batman book.

30) Frankenstien, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. – The art is going to put a lot of people off. I have faith in Jeff Lemire though, and expect this book to get steadily better.

31) Nightwing – Left me wanting more. Not a fan of the art style and the story was not there. A slow start but I am rooting for it.

32) The Savage Hawkman – The book really didn’t do anything for me. The best I can say is it was a competent superhero book. I think I would have rather had Hawkman in the JSA.

33) Batman: The Dark Knight – I have to be honest I don’t know what the point of this book is other than to get Batman fans to spend more money. Brought absolutely nothing new to the table.

34) Green Arrow – Not a blazing shot out of the cannon but there is hope. I like Green Arrow so I want this book to succeed.

35) Batwing – You could flip-flop this one with Green Arrow. They are about the same for me.

36) Justice League International – First thing this book needs to do is get rid of Batman. Then jump out of the box and try something new.

37) Mister Terrific – A very predictable book. The dialog saved it from being a total wash for me.

38) Suicide Squad – I actually saw some potential in this book but the story is going to have to get going in the next issue.

39) O.M.A.C. – I liked the art but I have always been a fan of Giffen. The book barely held together on the story front.

40) Green Lantern Corps – This book was a miss for me. Didn’t care about the story or the characters. I won’t give up hope on it because I liked the other two Lantern books so maybe the future will be better.

41) Green Lantern: New Guardians – I am sure Green Lantern fans will like this book way more than me. At least the Corps book had some humor in it.

42) Blue Beetle – The book felt like it was trying too hard and it made the dialog come off sounding a little hollow. Didn’t feel like it really got started until the end.

43) Blackhawks – I would have never bought this book without the reboot. Nothing in it really changed my mind.

44) Legion Lost- I might have been tempted to give it a higher rating if the story hadn’t felt so cliché. I guess there is hope it will pick up but just a glimmer.

45) Batman & Robin – They won’t cancel this book but for me it is going to have to get a whole lot better. I am a Batman fan and I just didn’t dig it.

46) DC Universe Presents – There were a few moments of brilliance surrounded by a whole lot of whatever.

47) Birds of Prey – Easily my biggest disappointment. I love the concept of an all female super group. It just didn’t cut it for me. Here’s hoping they figure it out.

48) The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men – Maybe I am just too old for these teenage angst driven books. Nope probably not because I loved what Ultimate Spider-Man did. DC is just not hitting the mark.

49) Hawk & Dove – Right now I see this book as an early possibility of getting voted off my DC island.

50) Static Shock – The art was okay but nothing else about this book caught my imagination. Could also easily be voted off my DC island.

51) Voodoo – This book seemed like an excuse to draw half-naked women on every page. There was an interesting story hiding somewhere under there.

52) Red Hood and the Outlaws – I mostly liked the art and I did get a few chuckles but this book has issues. Not sure why they went with this and not something like the Outsiders.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

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